What’s your Goal – part I

What’s your goal in doing this Paleo Challenge? I imagine that different people have taken on this challenge in order to accomplish different things. Some of those goals might be:

  • to lose fat
  • to improve general health/the immune system
  • to improve athletic performance
  • to gain muscle mass

The good news is that by “tweaking”  the Paleo plan, those goals can all be met! Today we’ll look at Fat Loss.

To Lose Fat:

Step 1 in losing fat is to start a food log! Step 2 is to commit to weighing and measuring during the 30 days . Step 3 is to work the plan EVERY DAY!  You need to weigh and measure because in order to achieve fat loss, you need to know exactly what you are putting into your body, down to the gram.

At the recent Paleolithic Solutions seminar, it was suggested that for optimal fat loss on a Paleo plan, you need fewer than 50 grams (for men) or 30 grams (for women) of carbs per day, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and a total caloric intake of 11-12 calories per pound.

For example, a 130lb woman would need about 1430 calories total, 130 g protein, 30 g carbs (which adds up to 640 cals), and the remainder (88g) in fat.

Things that will undermine your efforts:

Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • too much dairy for protein (shouldn’t be a problem if you’re sticking to the Paleo prescription!)
  • artificial sweeteners
  • inadequate sleep
  • under-eating
  • too much exercise
  • life stresses

If fat loss is your goal, follow the Paleo plan strictly, get more sleep than you think you need, make sure you don’t try to “speed things up” by working out even more or cutting back on calories, and do your best to incorporate periods of downtime and relaxation into your daily life.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stacey M on March 10, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Does the 1430 calorie figure for 130lb woman assume that the woman is working out?

    Just curious, because I am doing this for a little bit of fat loss and I got some bad news from the dr. today and she told me to stay out of the gym for a few more weeks. Should I cut my calories more because I’m not crossfitting?


    • Hi Stacy – answers to your questions finally!!

      Yes, if you are sedentary, you will need to eat less..

      And yes, fiber grams need to be subtracted out, so when you add up the carbs you are aiming for 30g of carbs NOT counting fiber.


  2. Posted by Jesseb on March 10, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Hi, I am going to semi cheat on Saturday. I say this because I already made up my mind as I have a personal social appointment 🙂 But I wanted to ask some advice on mitigating the damage. What are some good restaurants or types of food that are paleo friendly….kinda nice type restaurants. Also, I heard tequila and club soda was not the worst thing in the world. Is that right? This will be my one day of two weeks of being 100% and I literally plan to stray for one meal and maybe 2 or 3 drinks. Then im back on the wagon.


    • Posted by Cynthia on March 11, 2010 at 3:28 am

      Hi Jesse – I wouldn’t actually think of that as a “cheat” or that you’ll be going “back on the wagon”! You might make a conscious choice NOT to eat the best foods once in a while, but you’re a grown up making an informed choice, knowing that there are health and performance consequences to it.

      I posted the recipe for the NorCal Margarita the other day – that’s basically tequila, fresh-squeezed juice from 1 lime, and club soda.

      There WAS discussion about the best choices if you DO want to stray a little off the pure Paleo path, and Robb’s recommendation was to go Mexican – corn tortillas, rice and beans are at the “least bad for you” end of the spectrum, far from something like pizza and beer.

      Is a “personal social appointment” another way of saying “date”?


  3. Posted by Jesseb on March 10, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Sorry to hear of the bad news Stacy…Hope you can kick some ass in the gym soon again.


  4. Posted by Stacey M on March 10, 2010 at 5:04 am

    One more question…

    When counting grams of carbs, do you take into account the fiber?

    So say a piece of fruit as 20g of carbs and has 5 grams of fiber, do you count the carbs as 20 grams or 15 grams?


    • Posted by Cynthia on March 11, 2010 at 3:23 am

      HI Stacy – that wasn’t clear in the seminar; I’ve asked for clarification on that, plus insight into your question about calories & working out. I do know that you will continue to benefit from the shift to no grains, dairy and legumes, even if you are not working out for a while!


  5. Posted by Theo Paat on March 10, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Jessie – Are you a fan of wine? Because you could have a glass of red wine to accompany your dinner.

    Stacey – You ask really good questions! I need to find an answer to your question, hopefully. =)


  6. Posted by Jesseb on March 11, 2010 at 12:36 am

    This gem is from the Son of Grok..
    This is the primal party animal secret weapon and party piece. Toss the sugar filled mixers to the side and take a page from the alcoholics handbook. Find a strong, hard, un-fooferated liquor (at least 80 proof) that you can stand on the rocks and drink to your hearts content. When I want to get my swerve on this is where I go. My poison of choice is a glass of top shelf vodka on the rocks with lime. Roger de Rok’s personal favorite is a gin on the rocks with lime (bleh). You may have to start with sipping but once you adapt to the flavor of your booze of choice, you will be able to put it back no problem. Even though hard liquor is not exactly “primal per say” you can through it back almost limitlessly with next to no calories and virtually no guilt.


  7. OK…so perplexing me is the question: Do you calculate the calroies at the weight you *want* to be at. I weigh 250lbs, I want to weigh 205lbs. So do I calculate at the 205lbs? Do I start with a number like 240lbs, when I get there recalculate calories for 230lbs, get there, recalculate fro 200lbs, etc.

    And I can ask the opposite for gaining muscle. Do I calculate at 210lbs, get there, then 215lbs, get there, recalc, etc?

    I hope that makes sense…

    Thanks in Advance,


    • Posted by Cynthia on March 11, 2010 at 6:01 am

      Eric, my understanding is that you use where you are, not where you’re going (which would mean, yes, you’ll re-calibrate as you go).. I asked RObb for a sanity check though, just in case I was off base. Stay tuned!


      • Posted by Miles on March 12, 2010 at 2:26 am

        Usually the prescription is based on lean muscle mass (ie, from http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/start-diet.html “Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level… ” The zone diet has a similar calculator. Lean muscle mass isn’t going to change based on diet — the fat % will, so recalibration shouldn’t be necessary.

  8. Posted by Zach on March 11, 2010 at 5:31 am

    So I have Step 1 down. But as for Step 2, is it implying a Zone type of measuring and weighing? I was a Zoner for a few months and found it did help me with my meal portions. I gave up going strict and have been eyeballing things since then. How can we improve on carrying out Step 2?


    • Posted by Cynthia on March 11, 2010 at 5:59 am

      Hi Zach – yes, weighing and measuring for a short period is necessary when you really want to dial in exactly what you are eating; in general though, Paleo is unweighed and unmeasured, which is wonderful 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: